► Astrological ages
► Astrological data collectors
► Astrological organizations
► Astrological signs
► History of astrology
Star of Bethlehem
► Technical factors of astrology
► Astrological texts
Astrology by tradition
Astrology by type
Branches of astrology
The planets in astrology
Astrology and science
Astrological beliefs in correspondences between celestial observations
and terrestrial events have influenced various aspects of human
history, including world-views, language and many elements of social
Among Indo-European peoples, astrology has been dated to the 3rd
millennium BC, with roots in calendrical systems used
to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs
of divine communications. Until the 17th century, astrology was
considered a scholarly tradition, and it helped drive the development
of astronomy. It was commonly accepted in political and cultural
circles, and some of its concepts were used in other traditional
studies, such as alchemy, meteorology and medicine. By the end of
the 17th century, emerging scientific concepts in astronomy, such as
heliocentrism, were irrevocably undermining the theoretical basis of
astrology, which subsequently lost its academic standing.
In the 20th century, astrology gained broader consumer popularity
through the influence of regular mass media products, such as
1 Early origins
2 Ancient world
4 Greece and Rome
5 Islamic world
6 Medieval and Renaissance Europe
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for human meaning in
the sky; it seeks to understand general and specific human behavior
through the influence of planets and other celestial objects. It has
been argued that astrology began as a study as soon as human beings
made conscious attempts to measure, record, and predict seasonal
changes by reference to astronomical cycles.
Early evidence of such practices appears as markings on bones and cave
walls, which show that lunar cycles were being noted as early as
25,000 years ago; the first step towards recording the Moon’s
influence upon tides and rivers, and towards organizing a communal
calendar. With the Neolithic agricultural revolution new needs were
also met by increasing knowledge of constellations, whose appearances
in the night-time sky change with the seasons, allowing the rising of
particular star-groups to herald annual floods or seasonal
activities. By the 3rd millennium BC, widespread civilisations had
developed sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles, and are
believed to have consciously oriented their temples to create
alignment with the heliacal risings of the stars.
There is scattered evidence to suggest that the oldest known
astrological references are copies of texts made during this period,
Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad,
Assyria and Babylonia).
Two, from the
Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa
Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa (compiled in
1700 BC) are reported to have been made during the reign of king
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BC). Another, showing an early use of
electional astrology, is ascribed to the reign of the Sumerian ruler
Gudea of Lagash
Gudea of Lagash (c. 2144 - 2124 BC). This describes how the gods
revealed to him in a dream the constellations that would be most
favourable for the planned construction of a temple. However,
controversy attends the question of whether they were genuinely
recorded at the time or merely ascribed to ancient rulers by
posterity. The oldest undisputed evidence of the use of astrology as
an integrated system of knowledge is therefore attributed to the
records that emerge from the first dynasty of
Detail of the Ishtar Gate in Babylon
Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology,
arising in the 2nd millennium BC. There is speculation that
astrology of some form appeared in the Sumerian period in the 3rd
millennium BC, but the isolated references to ancient celestial omens
dated to this period are not considered sufficient evidence to
demonstrate an integrated theory of astrology. The history of
scholarly celestial divination is therefore generally reported to
begin with late Old Babylonian texts (c. 1800 BC), continuing through
the Middle Babylonian and Middle Assyrian periods (c. 1200 BC).
By the 16th century BC the extensive employment of omen-based
astrology can be evidenced in the compilation of a comprehensive
reference work known as Enuma Anu Enlil. Its contents consisted of 70
cuneiform tablets comprising 7,000 celestial omens. Texts from this
time also refer to an oral tradition - the origin and content of which
can only be speculated upon. At this time
Babylonian astrology was
solely mundane, concerned with the prediction of weather and political
matters, and prior to the 7th century BC the practitioners'
understanding of astronomy was fairly rudimentary. Astrological
symbols likely represented seasonal tasks, and were used as a yearly
almanac of listed activities to remind a community to do things
appropriate to the season or weather (such as symbols representing
times for harvesting, gathering shell-fish, fishing by net or line,
sowing crops, collecting or managing water reserves, hunting, and
seasonal tasks critical in ensuring the survival of children and young
animals for the larger group). By the 4th century, their mathematical
methods had progressed enough to calculate future planetary positions
with reasonable accuracy, at which point extensive ephemerides began
Babylonian astrology developed within the context of divination. A
collection of 32 tablets with inscribed liver models, dating from
about 1875 BC, are the oldest known detailed texts of Babylonian
divination, and these demonstrate the same interpretational format as
that employed in celestial omen analysis. Blemishes and marks
found on the liver of the sacrificial animal were interpreted as
symbolic signs which presented messages from the gods to the king.
The gods were also believed to present themselves in the celestial
images of the planets or stars with whom they were associated. Evil
celestial omens attached to any particular planet were therefore seen
as indications of dissatisfaction or disturbance of the god that
planet represented. Such indications were met with attempts to
appease the god and find manageable ways by which the god’s
expression could be realised without significant harm to the king and
his nation. An astronomical report to the king
Esarhaddon concerning a
lunar eclipse of January 673 BC shows how the ritualistic use of
substitute kings, or substitute events, combined an unquestioning
belief in magic and omens with a purely mechanical view that the
astrological event must have some kind of correlate within the natural
... In the beginning of the year a flood will come and break the
dikes. When the Moon has made the eclipse, the king, my lord, should
write to me. As a substitute for the king, I will cut through a dike,
here in Babylonia, in the middle of the night. No one will know about
Ulla Koch-Westenholz, in her 1995 book Mesopotamian Astrology, argues
that this ambivalence between a theistic and mechanic worldview
defines the Babylonian concept of celestial divination as one which,
despite its heavy reliance on magic, remains free of implications of
targeted punishment with the purpose of revenge, and so “shares some
of the defining traits of modern science: it is objective and
value-free, it operates according to known rules, and its data are
considered universally valid and can be looked up in written
tabulations”. Koch-Westenholz also establishes the most
important distinction between ancient
Babylonian astrology and other
divinatory disciplines as being that the former was originally
exclusively concerned with mundane astrology, being geographically
oriented and specifically applied to countries cities and nations, and
almost wholly concerned with the welfare of the state and the king as
the governing head of the nation.
Mundane astrology is therefore
known to be one of the oldest branches of astrology. It was only
with the gradual emergence of horoscopic astrology, from the 6th
century BC, that astrology developed the techniques and practice of
In 525 BC Egypt was conquered by the Persians so there is likely to
have been some Mesopotamian influence on Egyptian astrology. Arguing
in favour of this, historian Tamsyn Barton gives an example of what
appears to be Mesopotamian influence on the Egyptian zodiac, which
shared two signs – the Balance and the Scorpion, as evidenced in the
Zodiac (in the Greek version the Balance was known as the
After the occupation by
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great in 332 BC, Egypt came
Hellenistic rule and influence. The city of
founded by Alexander after the conquest and during the 3rd and 2nd
centuries BC, the scholars of
Alexandria were prolific writers. It was
Babylonian astrology was mixed with the
Egyptian tradition of Decanic astrology to create Horoscopic
astrology. This contained the Babylonian zodiac with its system of
planetary exaltations, the triplicities of the signs and the
importance of eclipses. Along with this it incorporated the Egyptian
concept of dividing the zodiac into thirty-six decans of ten degrees
each, with an emphasis on the rising decan, the Greek system of
planetary Gods, sign rulership and four elements.
The decans were a system of time measurement according to the
constellations. They were led by the constellation Sothis or Sirius.
The risings of the decans in the night were used to divide the night
into ‘hours’. The rising of a constellation just before sunrise
(its heliacal rising) was considered the last hour of the night. Over
the course of the year, each constellation rose just before sunrise
for ten days. When they became part of the astrology of the
Hellenistic Age, each decan was associated with ten degrees of the
zodiac. Texts from the 2nd century BC list predictions relating to the
positions of planets in zodiac signs at the time of the rising of
certain decans, particularly Sothis. The earliest
Zodiac found in
Egypt dates to the 1st century BC, the Dendera Zodiac.
Particularly important in the development of horoscopic astrology was
the astrologer and astronomer Ptolemy, who lived in
Egypt. Ptolemy's work the
Tetrabiblos laid the basis of the Western
astrological tradition, and as a source of later reference is said to
have "enjoyed almost the authority of a Bible among the astrological
writers of a thousand years or more". It was one of the first
astrological texts to be circulated in Medieval  Europe after
being translated from Arabic into
Latin by Plato of Tivoli
(Tiburtinus) in Spain, 1138.
Firmicus Maternus (4th century), the system of horoscopic
astrology was given early on to an Egyptian pharaoh named Nechepso and
his priest Petosiris. The Hermetic texts were also put together
during this period and Clement of Alexandria, writing in the Roman
era, demonstrates the degree to which astrologers were expected to
have knowledge of the texts in his description of Egyptian sacred
This is principally shown by their sacred ceremonial. For first
advances the Singer, bearing some one of the symbols of music. For
they say that he must learn two of the books of Hermes, the one of
which contains the hymns of the gods, the second the regulations for
the king's life. And after the Singer advances the Astrologer, with a
horologe in his hand, and a palm, the symbols of astrology. He must
have the astrological books of Hermes, which are four in number,
always in his mouth.
Greece and Rome
The conquest of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great exposed the Greeks to the
cultures and cosmological ideas of Syria, Babylon, Persia and central
Asia. Greek overtook cuneiform script as the international language of
intellectual communication and part of this process was the
transmission of astrology from cuneiform to Greek. Sometime around
280 BC, Berossus, a priest of Bel from Babylon, moved to the Greek
Kos in order to teach astrology and Babylonian culture to
the Greeks. With this, what historican
Nicholas Campion calls, "the
innovative energy" in astrology moved west to the
Hellenistic world of
Greece and Egypt. According to Campion, the astrology that arrived
Eastern World was marked by its complexity, with different
forms of astrology emerging. By the 1st century BC two varieties of
astrology were in existence, one that required the reading of
horoscopes in order to establish precise details about the past,
present and future; the other being theurgic (literally meaning
'god-work'), which emphasised the soul's ascent to the stars. While
they were not mutually exclusive, the former sought information about
the life, while the latter was concerned with personal transformation,
where astrology served as a form of dialogue with the Divine.
As with much else, Greek influence played a crucial role in the
transmission of astrological theory to Rome. However, our earliest
references to demonstrate its arrival in Rome reveal its initial
influence upon the lower orders of society, and display concern
about uncritical recourse to the ideas of Babylonian
'star-gazers'. Among the Greeks and Romans,
Babylonia (also known
as Chaldea) became so identified with astrology that 'Chaldean wisdom'
came to be a common synonym for divination using planets and
The first definite reference to astrology comes from the work of the
orator Cato, who in 160 BC composed a treatise warning farm overseers
against consulting with Chaldeans. The 2nd-century Roman poet
Juvenal, in his satirical attack on the habits of Roman women, also
complains about the pervasive influence of Chaldeans, despite their
lowly social status, saying "Still more trusted are the Chaldaeans;
every word uttered by the astrologer they will believe has come from
Hammon's fountain, ... nowadays no astrologer has credit unless he has
been imprisoned in some distant camp, with chains clanking on either
One of the first astrologers to bring Hermetic astrology to Rome was
Thrasyllus, who, in the first century CE, acted as the astrologer for
the emperor Tiberius.
Tiberius was the first emperor reported to
have had a court astrologer, although his predecessor
also used astrology to help legitimise his Imperial rights. In the
second century CE, the astrologer Claudius Ptolemy was so obsessed
with getting horoscopes accurate that he began the first attempt to
make an accurate world map (maps before this were more relativistic or
allegorical) so that he could chart the relationship between the
person's birthplace and the heavenly bodies. While doing so, he coined
the term "geography".
Even though some use of astrology by the emperors appears to have
happened, there was also a prohibition on astrology to a certain
extent as well. In the 1st century CE,
Publius Rufus Anteius was
accused of the crime of funding the banished astrologer Pammenes, and
requesting his own horoscope and that of then emperor Nero. For this
Nero forced Anteius to commit suicide. At this time, astrology
was likely to result in charges of magic and treason.
Latin translation of Abū Maʿshar's De Magnis Coniunctionibus ("Of
the great conjunctions"), Venice, 1515.
Abū Maʿshar, Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad al-Balkhī
Islamic Golden Age
Al-Sijzi, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Pierre d'Ailly, Pico della
Astrology in medieval Islam
Astrology was taken up enthusiastically by Islamic scholars following
the collapse of
Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the
founding of the Abbasid empire in the 8th century. The second Abbasid
Al Mansur (754-775) founded the city of
Baghdad to act as a
centre of learning, and included in its design a library-translation
centre known as Bayt al-Hikma ‘Storehouse of Wisdom’, which
continued to receive development from his heirs and was to provide a
major impetus for Arabic translations of
texts. The early translators included Mashallah, who helped to
elect the time for the foundation of Baghdad, and Sahl ibn Bishr
(a.k.a. Zael), whose texts were directly influential upon later
European astrologers such as
Guido Bonatti in the 13th century, and
William Lilly in the 17th century. Knowledge of Arabic texts
started to become imported into Europe during the
of the 12th century.
Amongst the important names of Arabic astrologers, one of the most
influential was Albumasur, whose work Introductorium in Astronomiam
later became a popular treatise in medieval Europe. Another was
the Persian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and geographer Al
Khwarizmi. The Arabs greatly increased the knowledge of astronomy, and
many of the star names that are commonly known today, such as
Aldebaran, Altair, Betelgeuse,
Vega retain the legacy of
their language. They also developed the list of
Hellenistic lots to
the extent that they became historically known as Arabic parts, for
which reason it is often wrongly claimed that the Arabic astrologers
invented their use, whereas they are clearly known to have been an
important feature of
During the advance of Islamic science some of the practices of
astrology were refuted on theological grounds by astronomers such as
Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) and Avicenna. Their
criticisms argued that the methods of astrologers were conjectural
rather than empirical, and conflicted with orthodox religious views of
Islamic scholars through the suggestion that the Will of God can be
precisely known and predicted in advance. Such refutations mainly
concerned 'judicial branches' (such as horary astrology), rather than
the more 'natural branches' such as medical and meteorological
astrology, these being seen as part of the natural sciences of the
For example, Avicenna’s 'Refutation against astrology' Resāla fī
ebṭāl aḥkām al-nojūm, argues against the practice of astrology
while supporting the principle of planets acting as the agents of
divine causation which express God's absolute power over creation.
Avicenna considered that the movement of the planets influenced life
on earth in a deterministic way, but argued against the capability of
determining the exact influence of the stars. In essence, Avicenna
did not refute the essential dogma of astrology, but denied our
ability to understand it to the extent that precise and fatalistic
predictions could be made from it.
Medieval and Renaissance Europe
Further information: Renaissance magic
Richard of Wallingford
Richard of Wallingford is shown measuring an
equatorium with a pair of compasses in this 14th-century work
Whilst astrology in the East flourished following the break up of the
Roman world, with Indian, Persian and Islamic influences coming
together and undergoing intellectual review through an active
investment in translation projects,
Western astrology in the same
period had become “fragmented and unsophisticated ... partly due to
the loss of Greek scientific astronomy and partly due to condemnations
by the Church.” Translations of Arabic works into
to make their way to Spain by the late 10th century, and in the 12th
century the transmission of astrological works from Arabia to Europe
“acquired great impetus”.
By the 13th century astrology had become a part of everyday medical
practice in Europe. Doctors combined Galenic medicine (inherited from
the Greek physiologist
Galen - AD 129-216) with studies of the stars.
By the end of the 1500s, physicians across Europe were required by law
to calculate the position of the Moon before carrying out complicated
medical procedures, such as surgery or bleeding.
An image related to astrology from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de
Berry. It shows the purported relation between body parts and the
signs of the zodiac.
Influential works of the 13th century include those of the British
Johannes de Sacrobosco
Johannes de Sacrobosco (c. 1195–1256) and the Italian
Guido Bonatti from
Forlì (Italy). Bonatti served the
communal governments of Florence,
Forlì and acted as
advisor to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. His astrological
text-book Liber Astronomiae ('Book of Astronomy'), written around
1277, was reputed to be "the most important astrological work produced
Latin in the 13th century".
Dante Alighieri immortalised
Bonatti in his
Divine Comedy (early 14th century) by placing him in
the eighth Circle of Hell, a place where those who would divine the
future are forced to have their heads turned around (to look backwards
instead of forwards).
Ascension tympanum of Royal
Portal of Chartres Cathedral. The central
theme is Christ's ascension, but around the edges are the signs of the
Zodiac and the Labours of the Months.
In medieval Europe, a university education was divided into seven
distinct areas, each represented by a particular planet and known as
the seven liberal arts.
Dante attributed these arts to the planets. As
the arts were seen as operating in ascending order, so were the
planets in decreasing order of planetary speed: grammar was assigned
to the Moon, the quickest moving celestial body, dialectic was
assigned to Mercury, rhetoric to Venus, music to the Sun, arithmetic
to Mars, geometry to Jupiter and astrology/astronomy to the slowest
moving body, Saturn.
Medieval writers used astrological symbolism in their literary themes.
For example, Dante's
Divine Comedy builds varied references to
planetary associations within his described architecture of Hell,
Purgatory and Paradise, (such as the seven layers of Purgatory's
mountain purging the seven cardinal sins that correspond to
astrology's seven classical planets). Similar astrological
allegories and planetary themes are pursued through the works of
Chaucer's astrological passages are particularly frequent and
knowledge of astrological basics is often assumed through his work. He
knew enough of his period's astrology and astronomy to write a
Treatise on the Astrolabe
Treatise on the Astrolabe for his son. He pinpoints the early spring
season of the
Canterbury Tales in the opening verses of the prologue
by noting that the Sun "hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne".
He makes the
Wife of Bath
Wife of Bath refer to "sturdy hardiness" as an attribute
of Mars, and associates Mercury with "clerkes". In the early
modern period, astrological references are also to be found in the
works of William Shakespeare and John Milton.
One of the earliest English astrologers to leave details of his
practice was Richard Trewythian (b. 1393). His notebook demonstrates
that he had a wide range of clients, from all walks of life, and
indicates that engagement with astrology in 15th-century England was
not confined to those within learned, theological or political
During the Renaissance, court astrologers would complement their use
of horoscopes with astronomical observations and discoveries. Many
individuals now credited with having overturned the old astrological
order, such as Tycho Brahe,
Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, were
themselves practicing astrologers.
At the end of the Renaissance the confidence placed in astrology
diminished, with the breakdown of
Aristotelian Physics and rejection
of the distinction between the celestial and sublunar realms, which
had historically acted as the foundation of astrological theory. Keith
Thomas writes that although heliocentrism is consistent with astrology
theory, 16th and 17th century astronomical advances meant that "the
world could no longer be envisaged as a compact inter-locking
organism; it was now a mechanism of infinite dimensions, from which
the hierarchical subordination of earth to heaven had irrefutably
disappeared". Initially, amongst the astronomers of the time,
"scarcely anyone attempted a serious refutation in the light of the
new principles" and in fact astronomers "were reluctant to give up the
emotional satisfaction provided by a coherent and interrelated
universe". By the 18th century the intellectual investment which had
previously maintained astrology's standing was largely abandoned.
Historian of science Ann Geneva writes:
Astrology in seventeenth century England was not a science. It was not
a Religion. It was not magic. Nor was it astronomy, mathematics,
puritanism, neo Platism, psychology, meteorology, alchemy or
witchcraft. It used some of these as tools; it held tenets in common
with others; and some people were adept at several of these skills.
But in the final analysis it was only itself: a unique divinatory and
prognostic art embodying centuries of accreted methodology and
Indian astronomy and Hindu astrology
The earliest use of the term jyotiṣa is in the sense of a Vedanga,
an auxiliary discipline of Vedic religion. The only work of this class
to have survived is the
Vedanga Jyotisha, which contains rules for
tracking the motions of the sun and the moon in the context of a
five-year intercalation cycle. The date of this work is uncertain, as
its late style of language and composition, consistent with the last
centuries BC, albeit pre-Mauryan, conflicts with some internal
evidence of a much earlier date in the 2nd millennium BC.
The documented history of
Jyotish in the subsequent newer sense of
modern horoscopic astrology is associated with the interaction of
Hellenistic cultures in the
Indo-Greek period. Greek
became a lingua franca of the Indus valley region following the
military conquests of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and the Bactrian Greeks. The
oldest surviving treatises, such as the
Yavanajataka or the
Brihat-Samhita, date to the early centuries AD. The oldest
astrological treatise in
Sanskrit is the
Yavanajataka ("Sayings of the
Greeks"), a versification by
Sphujidhvaja in 269/270 AD of a now lost
translation of a Greek treatise by
Yavanesvara during the 2nd century
AD under the patronage of the
Saka king Rudradaman
Indian astronomy and astrology developed together. The earliest
treatise on jyotish, the Bhrigu Samhita, dates from the Vedic era. The
sage Bhrigu is one of the Saptarshi, the seven sages who assisted in
the creation of the universe. Written on pages of tree bark, the
Samhita (Compilation) is said to contain five million horoscopes
comprising all who have lived in the past or will live in the future.
The first named authors writing treatises on astronomy are from the
5th century AD, the date when the classical period of Indian astronomy
can be said to begin. Besides the theories of
Aryabhata in the
Aryabhatiya and the lost Arya-siddhānta, there is the
Pancha-Siddhāntika of Varahamihira.
Main article: Chinese astrology
An oracle bone – turtle shell
Chinese system is based on astronomy and calendars and its significant
development is tied to that of astronomy, which came to flourish
Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD).
Chinese astrology has a close relation with
Chinese philosophy (theory
of the three harmony, heaven, earth and water) and uses the principles
of yin and yang and concepts that are not found in Western astrology,
such as the wu xing teachings, the 10 Celestial stems, the 12 Earthly
Branches, the lunisolar calendar (moon calendar and sun calendar), and
the time calculation after year, month, day and shichen (時辰).
Astrology was traditionally regarded highly in China, and Confucius is
said to have treated astrology with respect saying: "Heaven sends down
its good or evil symbols and wise men act accordingly". The
60-year cycle combining the five elements with the twelve animal signs
of the zodiac has been documented in China since at least the time of
the Shang (Shing or Yin) dynasty (ca 1766 BC – ca 1050 BC). Oracles
bones have been found dating from that period with the date according
to the 60-year cycle inscribed on them, along with the name of the
diviner and the topic being divined about. One of the most famous
astrologers in China was
Tsou Yen who lived in around 300 BC, and who
wrote: "When some new dynasty is going to arise, heaven exhibits
auspicious signs for the people".
Maya calendar and Aztec calendar
The calendars of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica are based upon a system
which had been in common use throughout the region, dating back to at
least the 6th century BC. The earliest calendars were employed by
peoples such as the Zapotecs and Olmecs, and later by such peoples as
Mixtec and Aztecs. Although the Mesoamerican calendar did
not originate with the Maya, their subsequent extensions and
refinements to it were the most sophisticated. Along with those of the
Aztecs, the Maya calendars are the best-documented and most completely
The distinctive Mayan calendar used two main systems, one plotting the
solar year of 360 days, which governed the planting of crops and other
domestic matters; the other called the
Tzolkin of 260 days, which
governed ritual use. Each was linked to an elaborate astrological
system to cover every facet of life. On the fifth day after the birth
of a boy, the Mayan astrologer-priests would cast his horoscope to see
what his profession was to be: soldier, priest, civil servant or
sacrificial victim. A 584-day
Venus cycle was also maintained,
which tracked the appearance and conjunctions of Venus.
Venus was seen
as a generally inauspicious and baleful influence, and Mayan rulers
often planned the beginning of warfare to coincide with when Venus
rose. There is evidence that the Maya also tracked the movements of
Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, and possessed a zodiac of some kind. The
Mayan name for the constellation Scorpio was also 'scorpion', while
the name of the constellation Gemini was 'peccary'. There is some
evidence for other constellations being named after various
beasts. The most famous Mayan astrological observatory still
intact is the Caracol observatory in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen
Itza in modern-day Mexico.
Aztec calendar shares the same basic structure as the Mayan
calendar, with two main cycles of 360 days and 260 days. The 260-day
calendar was called
Tonalpohualli and was used primarily for
divinatory purposes. Like the Mayan calendar, these two cycles formed
a 52-year 'century', sometimes called the Calendar Round.
Astrology and science
Classical planets in Western alchemy
Jewish views on astrology
^ Koch-Westenholz (1995) Foreword and p.11.
^ Kassell and Ralley (2010) ‘Stars, spirits, signs: towards a
history of astrology 1100–1800'; pp.67–69.
^ Campion (2009) pp.259–263, for the popularizing influence of
newspaper astrology; pp. 239–249: for association with New Age
^ Campion (2008) pp.1-3.
^ Marshack (1972) p.81ff.
^ Hesiod (c. 8th century BC). Hesiod’s poem Works and Days
demonstrates how the heliacal rising and setting of constellations
were used as a calendrical guide to agricultural events, from which
were drawn mundane astrological predictions, e.g.: “Fifty days after
the solstice, when the season of wearisome heat is come to an end, is
the right time to go sailing. Then you will not wreck your ship, nor
will the sea destroy the sailors, unless Poseidon the Earth-Shaker be
set upon it, or Zeus, the king of the deathless gods” (II. 663-677).
^ Kelley and Milone (2005) p.268.
^ Two texts which refer to the 'omens of Sargon' are reported in E. F.
Weidner, ‘Historiches Material in der Babyonischen
Omina-Literatur’ Altorientalische Studien, ed. Bruno Meissner,
(Leipzig, 1928-9), v. 231 and 236.
^ From scroll A of the ruler Gudea of Lagash, I 17 – VI 13. O.
Kaiser, Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments, Bd. 2, 1-3.
Gütersloh, 1986-1991. Also quoted in A. Falkenstein, ‘Wahrsagung in
der sumerischen Überlieferung’, La divination en Mésopotamie
ancienne et dans les régions voisines. Paris, 1966.
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This article incorporates text from a publication now in
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Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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